Dancing With Noah

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NBA Fathers & Sons Two-on-Two: Round Two aka, Separating Genes from Jeans

Here we are in mid-April and the first ever NBA Father/Son Two-on-Two tournament is in full swing. As we head into the second round of this once-in-a-lifetime imaginary five-round tournament, we’ve been privy to teasing, taunts, familial rivalry, allusions to cannabis consumption, controlling parents and meanderings deep into the digitized vaults of Youtube.

16 teams remain and by the time you get done reading this post we’ll have cut that list in half and arrived at the Great(est) Eight father/son combos as contrived by this batch of misfit writers.

First up, I’m tackling the Bryant Quadrant:

Jr. & Sr. Pistols

Jr. & Sr. Pistols

 

Kobe/ “Jellybean” Joe Bryant (1-seed) vs. Pete/Press Maravich (4-seed):

A couple of shot-taking, head-faking, basket-making sons steal the spotlight here. I remember being a kid and watching a biopic about a young Pete Maravich, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. My memories are of a sappy, Hollywood flick and a little white kid with a crew cut who would walk through the entire town spinning a ball on his finger. It doesn’t matter if this actually happened or not; the point was clear: the myth of Pistol Pete was greater than Maravich could ever actually be. And so it is in this father/son battle where Kobe finds himself being motivated by a combination of Jordanesque perceived slights and the surprisingly shrewd prods of his father who tells Kobe before the game, “I heard the Pistol saying you’re not even top-10 all-time….in Lakers history.” Kobe’s appalled, incensed, bites at his jersey, thrusts out his under bite, flares his nostrils while Jellybean grins to himself relishing the skills he picked up as a WNBA coach. Press Maravich is a non-factor and the Maravich family is destroyed by Kobe’s fury and the Bryant’s superior athleticism. The number one overall seed advances: 21-10.

Austin/Doc Rivers (3-seed) vs. Patrick Jr/Patrick Ewing (2-seed):

In the first game we saw a couple of sons take the spotlight, but in the later game, it’s a pair of dads from the 80s that dictate the flow which escalated into a war of sorts between Glenn “Doc” Rivers and former teammate Patrick Ewing. As a master motivator, Doc is in his son’s ear throughout warm-ups. He pokes, prods, he encourages, he’s builds up and up and up: “You played more games in your first month in the league than Patrick’s kid played in his entire career.” Young Rivers’ confidence is visibly growing while young Ewing shrinks—and this is before the game. No one, especially not this observer, was surprised to see Austin Rivers attack Ewing Jr. from the opening check, but what stood out was the physicality with which Doc delivered on Ewing Sr. The Ewing game-plan was painfully obvious: dump it into Sr. and let him work. Old Patrick got his buckets, but he had to earn every one as Doc reached, stripped, hacked, hipped, bumped and reminded Patrick of why he loved that turnaround so damn much. In the end, the speed and quickness of the Rivers’ was enough to pull out the tournament’s first overtime victory: 23-20 on bomb from 25-feet from Austin. After hitting the game-winner, Austin, mockingly asked, “Patrick!?!?!”

 

This time around, Jacob (@jacobjbg) tackled the surreal Barry quadrant:

Brent/Rick Barry (1-seed) vs. Kevin/Stan Love (4-seed):

Going into the match, there was some uncertainty about whether the Barrys could hold seed and defeat the upstart Loves. Kevin was balling out of his mind, and despite Stan’s limited skills, mind and mustache game were both formidable. But it was all over from the very start. As Stan checked the ball in to Rick, he committed the cardinal sin: trash talking an insecure San Francisco resident. “Yeah, you may have averaged 25 points per game for your career, but you didn’t even crack single digits in the sack for your career total!” Stan’s taunts rang through the gym, reverberating through tense silence. “Know why you didn’t get laid, Rick?” Stan asked. Rick stared back at him, hard. “It’s because you were bald around both your heads! Ya dig?!” Stan shouted gleefully, spun around disco-style, stroked his awesome mustache and got into a defensive stance. That was that. Rick calmly lined up a three, drained it, and stared back at Stan. “Three-nothing, you nobody,” Rick hissed. It was on. A man possessed, Rick had a game for the ages: 19 points, 17 rebounds, and one begrudging assist to a frazzled Brent on their way to 21-15 victory in a game that was never close. Never trash talk a Top-50 All-Time player, especially about their follicle regions.

Jon/Rick Barry (1-seed) vs. Mike/Henry Bibby (6-seed):

Though Rick would never tell you himself, he greatly preferred playing with Jon over Brent. There was a reason Jon worked for ESPN: he was a shill. He’d do whatever his superior said, no questions asked. Always hard working, and simple in a sort of lovable way. Though Jon can shoot, he knows his dad can shoot better. And his dad, still feeling sort of miffed about the shenanigans of Stan Love, is all too happy to keep shooting. This time the shots don’t fall as freely — Barry yells “Goddamned shame!” each time his shot clanks off the rim — and the Bibbys are able to use their speed to penetrate and get buckets. It’s a close one, but in the end, Jon gets enough second chances under the rim over the smaller Mike Bibby to snag the win, 21-18. Rick finishes with 17 points in this one, but an even tougher choice: which son will he choose in the finals?

In round two, Bug (@bugfoster515) gets the Walker/Rose bracket:

Jimmy Walker/Jalen Rose (1-seed) vs. Ronnie/Ron Brewer (5-seed):

After breezing by the David Vaughns in the first round, the Walker/Rose duo faces a much stiffer competition in the second round against the Brewers. The Brewers come in with confidence oozing from their pores after a mild upset of the Smiths in their first round. There’s no advantage physically as the dads and sons measure up equally from a size and athleticism standpoint. The clear advantage lies in the offensive firepower of Rose/Walker. The Brewers, known as role players/defensive stoppers, just can’t keep up offensively enough to pull off another upset. Ronnie does a good job keeping Jalen in check, but once Jimmy Walker starts putting on his moves the Detroit duo pulls away for a 21-15 win.

And call this name dropping all you want, but basketball sage Peter Vecsey (@petervecsey1) picked Walker/Rose as his greatest father/son combo of all-time:

 vecsey

Luke/Bill Walton (2-seed) vs. Jim Jr & John/JonPaxson (6-seed):

No one expected the Paxsons to be here after facing off against the Mikans in the first round, but like the great sport of boxing, matchups make fights. The Paxsons find themselves in a similar matchup against the Waltons. They’re at a huge disadvantage in the size department going against one of the NBA’s all-time great big men in Bill Walton, so they will once again rely on outside shooting to attempt pulling off another upset. Unlike the slow, prodding Mikans, the Waltons can move on defense and bring much more offensive diversity. Any true hoops fan that has read The Breaks of the Game, knows that Walton in his prime (on the rare occasion he wasn’t injured) could carry a team and do it all. The Paxons were able to hit a few threes to keep it close early, but Jim Paxson Sr. (only played two years in the NBA before going into the insurance business) trying to guard Bill Walton was almost as silly as Mark Cuban drafting Brittney Griner to play in the NBA. The Waltons basketball IQ and overall skill level was too much for the overmatched Paxsons. Waltons keep truckin’ to victory with a 21-13 win.

And Hamilton (@rh_asme) gets one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the second round: Schayes vs. Currys:

Klay/Mychal Thompson (1-seed) vs. Gerald Jr/Gerald Henderson (5-seed):

This second round matchup featured the top seed in the quadrant, the Thompsons, squaring off against the 5th seeded Hendersons. The Thompsons feature the truest inside-outside threat in the field and set out to utilize Mychal’s size to their advantage. With an array of pick and rolls and slips, the Thompsons looked like a machine oiled up for a long run. Klay’s 3 point shot at 6’7” with Mychal’s length and strength allowed them to cruise to an easy 21-12 win. As one might expect, the Hendersons competed on both sides of the ball but were simply outgunned. This was a bad matchup for 6’2” and 6’5” Gerald and Gerald and the upset just wasn’t meant to be.

Danny/Dolph Schayes (2-seed) vs. Steph/Dell Curry (3-seed):

This wasn’t the first matchup of contrasting styles in the father/son field and it probably won’t be the last. The Currys are always confident in their shooting and for good reason. Coming off a 7-10 3-pt performance in round one it was clear going into the game that the three-ball would be the Currys’ biggest advantage. Predictably (though not in a bad way), the Schayes focused on playing the game as close to the basket as possible. On each of their offensive possessions, Dolph checked the ball and backed his Curry into the paint (Mark Jackson style) before deciding upon shot or pass. It was one of the oddest two man games you’ll see, but it was effective. As noted earlier, the Currys intended to replicate their round 1 game plan by focusing on their three-point shot, pulling the defenders away from the paint and spacing out to allow room for each other to drive. Unfortunately, when teams live by the three, they die by the three. And tonight, the Currys father/son title hopes died on a 4-14 3-point shooting performance. After the game, Danny Schayes said, “We knew they’d be willing to trade 2s for 3s, so we had to make sure we finished in the paint and contested their shots. Luckily from us they weren’t as sharp as they were in round one … this could have easily been a different game.” Final score 21-14, Schayes advance to the Great(est) Eight.    

Pistols aren't the only father/son who can spin a ball

Pistols aren’t the only father/son who can spin a ball

True to NBA form, upsets have been fleeting. Just a single under-seeded team has advanced to the quarterfinals: The Rivers’. Nothing was too surprising coming out of the second round except the contrasting motivational techniques used by the Doc Rivers and Jellybean Bryant. One propped his son up while the other motivated through chopping down. As we step into the semi-final round the most intriguing matchup in the bracket is the Barry family quadrant where Rick/Brent will face off against Rick/Jon. We’ve seen a lot of Barry-fueled aggression already so I can’t wait to see how Rick Barry deals with the complexity of Rick Barry. Other questions to ponder as you lie in bed struggling to doze off at night:

  • ·         Can the tenuous relationships of the Bryants hold?
  • ·         Will the Walker/Rose combo confront issues of abandonment?
  • ·         Will Jerry Garcia magically leap forth from the afterlife to support the Walton boys?
  • ·         Is Mychal Thompson capable of allowing his son the freedom necessary to develop into his own man?

These questions and more will be answered next week when we play out the semi-finals of the greatest of Two-on-Two tournament this side of White Men Can’t Jump.

Father Son bracket - round 3

NBA Fathers & Sons Two-on-Two: The Games have Begun

I had this dark moment on an airplane a few days ago where I lost all faith in the Father/Son idea as a blog post. It was some combination of plastic cups with red wine and sleep deprivation that shook me up, but damn it, I said we’d power through this imaginary tournament and power through we will. Today’s post looks at what happened in the first round of father/son play and spells out the rules/parameters of the games:

  •          Single-elimination. You lose and you’re out. No running it back, no best out of three, no pissing, no moaning (looking at you Kobe and Rick Barry).
  •          Referees will be included. There was some discussion around keeping this more of an informal, park-type game a’la White Men Can’t Jump (part of me wishes the title was in singular form: White Man Can’t Jump; like it’d be this specific guy. Perhaps there’s room in our culture for Black Man Can’t Jump? – sorry for the digression), but the thought of current and former NBA players calling their own fouls was too much to bear. Kobe’d shoot 100% because he’d be calling fouls every time the ball didn’t go through the hoop. So refs are involved.
  •          Games are played to 21 points with twos and threes. It’s win by two or first team to 25.
  •          There is no make-it-take-it rule. Imagine the Currys, Dell and Steph, bombing away from 25 feet and winning a game 21-3.
  •          As for the presentation of the first round; the quadrants have been divvied up amongst the four of us:
    •    Hamilton gets the Bryants quadrant
    •    Bug gets the Thompsons
    •    Jacob gets the Walker/Rose
    •    I/Fenrich get the Barrys

And the Barry bracket is where we’ll begin:

Rick/Brent Barry (1-seed) vs. Eric and Walt Piatkowski (8-seed):

On the one hand, we’ve got one of the top father/son combos in NBA/ABA history in the Barrys. Rick was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, NBA champion, league scoring champ, and all-around antagonistic ass (for more information on this, read Barry’s section in Bill Simmons’s Book of Basketball). He’s paired with his dunk contest-winning son, Brent “Bones” Barry; a lanky wing with his father’s build and athleticism, but not quite the skill. Meanwhile, the Piatkowskis, a couple of tall wings who attempted to make a living on jump shots and grit. It worked for son Eric, but not father Walt who appeared in three seasons of pro ball, but ultimately left to become a paper salesman. In this game, the paper salesman and his son simply can’t compete with the multi-skilled Barry’s who run pick and pops and give and go’s en route to a 21-9 victory. Much of the game is spent cringing at the paper salesman barbs slung from Rick in the direction of Walt. Clearly embarrassed, Brent Barry immediately walked off the court following the victory; despite his dad’s calls for him to “come back” and “celebrate like a winner.”

Stan/Kevin Love (4-seed) vs. Mike/Mike Dunleavy (5-seed):

Stan Love is such a swanky ass name. Can’t you picture a man named “Stan Love” strolling through clubs and lounges in the 70s with huge lapels on his leisure suit, spouting out cornball lines to any woman in earshot while flashing a massive smile and introducing himself as “Dr. Love” or “Stan the Man, but ladies call me the Doctor of Love.” That’s what I picture and then I see what Stan Love used to look like: A 6’9” brute with a Fu Manchu-style furry moustache. And the height matters here. The elder Love only appeared in four seasons, but the Loves are just too big and versatile for the slightly built Dunleavys who go 6’3” (dad) and a lean 6’9” (son). The Loves get the boards and pound the ball inside and out while Stan’s brother, Beach Boy member, Mike Love, strolls along the baseline singing ad-libbed songs about how Love conquers all, especially the Dunleavys. It was a mostly tactless move by Mike Love, but the laid back tunes and 60s throwback lyrics had most fans and even the players in a California state of mind. Loves, 21, Dunleavys 15.

Gerald/Damien Wilkins (3-seed) vs. Henry/Mike Bibby (6-seed):

The Wilkins’s have a clear size and athleticism advantage over the shorter, slower Bibbys, but the pedigree of the Bibbys (one of three father/son combinations to win NCAA championships) had fans and analysts wondering how the Dunleavys received a 5-seed while the Bibbys got a 6. Seeding aside, the little Bibbys (both 6’1”) had to rely on their superior perimeter shooting and point guardish sleight of hand. Wilkins to Wilkins on lobs (straight over the little Bibbys), post-ups and penetrations were flashier than the Bibbys perimeter approach, but in the end, the slower, sleepier combination of Mike and Henry got the upset with a 21-18 win.

Rick/Jon Barry (2-seed) vs. Bob/Danny Ferry (7-seed):  

If Brent Barry acts as a balancing weight against his dad’s irascibility, brother Jon is the lighter fluid on the flame. Jon and Rick go back and forth stirring the pot with one another in a way that makes it hard to understand if they’re secretly motivating each other or intentionally needling one another. It doesn’t matter much in this game against the taller, but overmatched Ferrys who’ve made more of an impact on the game as executives than players. Rick’s on the attack from the opening ball check and proceeds to score 19 of the 21 Barry points. The Ferrys seem confused about whether they should utilize their size or do what comes natural—drift to the perimeter. The confusion and inability to defend Rick are the key reasons they lose: 8-21.

Up next is the Bryant bracket which was closely observed by Hamilton (@rh_asme):

Kobe/Joe Bryant (1-seed) vs. Terry/Ed Davis (8-seed):

Being the #1 overall seed comes with the weight of pressure, expectation. It’s easy to see how a group of amateurs between the ages of 18 and 22 might fall victim to that weight; but not the #1 overall seed in this tournament – the Bryant tandem of Joe and Kobe. Everyone knows Kobe’s bio … Joe (Jellybean) is probably mostly known, even as a player, for being Kobe’s pops. But the dude could play some ball too. The Davis duo is made up of current Memphis Grizzly Ed, and his old man Terry. Ed Davis has his moments, but aside from those, his ceiling is likely a rotation player. Terry and Ed Davis go roughly the same size at 6’9 and 225. Terry played from 89-01 (no shit?), mostly for Dallas and never on a playoff team. Jellybean measures up a lanky 6’9 at 185. Jellybean was a member of the 76-77 Sixers that lost in the Finals to Walton’s Blazers. He and Kobe know how to win, and easily do so here, 21-5. Kobe’s tenacity and Jellybean’s length make the Davises uncomfortable on offense. Kobe scores a breezy 16 of the 21, but Joe’s tip slam over Ed to secure the win is the highlight of the game. Jellybean proudly skips off the court yelling “LaSalle! We up in here!”

 

Pete/Press Maravich (4-seed) vs. Kiki/Ernie Vandeweghe (5-seed):

Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe Jr and Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe III make up team Vandeweghe. Peter (Press) Maravich and Peter Press Maravich are the 4th seeded Maravichs. Two names shared amongst 4 men – this could get confusing. The elder Vandeweghe goes by Doc (he is a physician) and the younger shall be Kiki. The Maravich’s answer to Press and Pistol. Doc played for the Knicks during the NBA’s infancy from 1949-56 and averaged 9 ppg over his career. His greater contribution to athletics was as chairman of President Ford’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports where he was instrumental in the development and passage of Title IX and the Amateur Athletic Act. Kiki was one hell of a player despite a strange career arc. Press only played his only season of pro ball in 1947 for the Pittsburg Ironmen of the Basketball Association of America (side note: The BAA merged with the NBL in 1949 to form the NBA we know and love today). Pistol is the gem of this matchup and Press is content to stand back and watch his son execute all the things he coached him up to do. Even though Kiki has the most size in this game, he fails to use it to his advantage just as he did in during his pro career (6’8 and only 3.4 rpg) and Pete’s wizardry prevails. Final score: 21-18, Maravichs.

Doc/Austin Rivers (3-seed) vs. Tito/Al Horford (6-seed):

Size vs. speed? It’s an age old basketball question, and great points can be made for the supremacy of either one. In a full court game, speed is the stronger trait. But this is half court 2 on 2 and as such, speed is less of an asset. The advantage for the Rivers team is the three-point shot. Austin loves to chuck but doesn’t do it efficiently. Doc coaches like he played: smart, prepared, even tempered. As teammates, he and Austin are a yin and yang of sorts. Austin’s brash scorer’s mentality and Doc, with his steady thinking man’s approach, have evident chemistry. The Horfords on the other hand are lumbering post players – basketball zombies in this setting. Al has had the misfortune of playing center his entire career when he could do much more as PF. Tito is 7’1 and might appear next to the word stiff in certain dictionaries. He played a mere 63 games over three seasons and is the weakest player in this matchup. The Rivers boys are happy to trade 2s for 3s and utilize the defensive cushion the Horfords must yield to get clean looks. The result is a 21-14 win for Doc and Austin.

Patrick/Patrick Ewing Jr (2-seed) Walt/Wally Szczerbiak (7-seed):

Patrick Sr. was a beast around the rim before he fell in love with that baseline jumper. He knew going into this matchup that he’d need to make Wally and Walt pay for showing up in smaller bodies than his. Patrick Jr. is an athlete but doesn’t have a great deal of skill. Wally and Walt are similar players. Both like to shoot A LOT and both are prone to getting real fussy. Walt was notorious in the Long Island pickup circuit for calling phantom fouls on his shots. When he saw that this tournament had real referees, he knew it didn’t bode well for his steez. In the most bizarre game of this quadrant, Wally became enraged over Walt’s excessive shooting and helped Patrick Jr. execute a fundamentally sound double team on his father. The result of that double team was an easy dunk for Patrick Sr. to seal the deal. Spectators could be overheard remarking that they’d never seen Wally give that much effort on a defensive possession. The dysfunction started early, but was over quickly, as Patrick and Patrick moved on with a 21-8 win.      

Jacob (@jacobjbg) reached deep into the recesses of his imagination to take on the Rose/Walker bracket:

Walker/Rose (1-seed) vs Vaughns (8-seed):

Internet research yielded little information about the David Vaughns, except that David Jr. went from being an NBA champion (he was on the 1997-98 Bulls) to being homeless.  So there’s that.  Instead, we can (and probably should) look at the basics here: the David Vaughns are plodding journeymen power forwards (Senior is 6’11’’, Junior is 6’9’’) who have six years of professional experience combined, and never averaged double figures in anything, while Jimmy Walker and Jalen were both quick, dynamic scoring guards who could penetrate and shoot from the outside. I feel fairly safe giving this game to Jimmy and Jalen (provided they’re on speaking terms; Jimmy played no role in Jalen’s upbringing).  21-10 Walker/Rose. 

N/D Smith (4-seed) vs Brewers (5-seed):

This seems like it would be the most entertaining matchup in the Walker/Rose bracket; a high-flying, quick-paced guard-fest.  Derek would likely have to carry Nolan on offense, who has not found his stroke in the bigs.  Derek, as it turned out, was averaging nearly 24 points per game for the 1985 Kings before he blew out his knee.  Ron and Ronnie Brewer would perhaps be in a similar situation (his dad averaged a little over 10 a game for a few seasons), so it’d be scrappy and fun.  In the end, Ronnie will shut down Nolan, and the Dad-off will produce a 21-17 victory for the Brewers.  Upset city!

Mikans (3-seed) vs Paxsons (6-seed):

I remember playing YMCA ball back in the day.  The coach’s kid was on the team with me, and he wasn’t all that great as a basketball player.  Of course, Coach Dad ran him at the point, and drew up a bunch of plays for him, none of which really ever worked.  You could tell the kid really didn’t like playing basketball; it must’ve been something that his dad forced him to get into, and here he was, 10 years later, still getting shouted at by Coach Dad to care about something that clearly was an incidental – perhaps even forced – interest.  You almost see the same situation in the Mikans in this tournament.  Father George was the Shaq of his era; the first modern pivot whose dominance led to the widening of the lane and the shot clock.  Son Larry played one year of pro ball with the Cavs, averaging 3 points per game in about 10 minutes per game.  There couldn’t be a bigger talent (and motivational) gap possible.  So, you can imagine the ire George would show when the 6th seeded Paxsons – a renegade family of sharpshooters – step up and beat the Mikans 21-19, with George scoring 18 of their 19 total points.  It’s gonna be a quiet, tense ride home in the Mikan Chevy Windstar.

Waltons (2-seed) vs Mannings (7-seed):

This would probably be the best game in the bracket if soft tissue, ligaments, and bones didn’t exist, and we were all Rubber Men instead.  Both Bill and Luke Walton lost partial or entire seasons due to various ailments in their backs, knees, ankles, shoulders and feet.  And though Ed Manning seems to have been fairly durable, Danny’s disappointing career (considering he was the #1 overall pick out of Kansas) was due to a series of blown out knees.  So we’ll all cringe and look away as Waltons and Mannings smash into each other, joints creaking and bones clattering, all the way to a spirited 22-20 victory for the Waltons on a sneaky little jumper from Luke Walton.  Father Bill will say “this was the greatest two-on-two match in the history of basketblog fantasies” and then go off to find some ganj. 

Bug (@bugfoster515) had the final quadrant and after spending an evening downing beers with him, I walked away convinced he’ll be the first person I know to purchase a Dolph Schayes jersey and spent the evening asking anyone with even a shred of basketball knowledge, “What’s your opinion on Dolph Schayes?” My morning was capped off by his text message referring to Schayes as “Bill Russell minus the defense.” Likely an absurd statement, but it does a great job conveying Bug’s newfound fondness for Dolph.

Mychal/Klay Thompson (1-seed) vs. Wayne/Rex Chapman (8-seed):

The Thompson’s possess one of the most potent inside/outside combos in the tournament, and they come into this matchup as heavy favorites. The 1978 #1 overall draft pick, Mychal, is a physical specimen with an athletic 6-10 frame, while Klay provides a silky shooting touch from downtown. On the other side, Rex is no slouch either. He was a two-time dunk contest entrant and dropped 39 on Jordan and Pippen (and got a W) in the midst of the Bulls 72-10 season. His father, Wayne’s career as a pro was short-lived, but he had great success coach winning two NCAA D-II championships. The Thompson’s gameplan was clear from the opening check, let Mychal do work on Wayne. The 6-10 giant is simply too much for the 6’6” Wayne to handle in the paint. They didn’t even need Klay’s shooting to roll to a 21-7 victory. Never the one to pass up a chance to teach his son to do the right thing, Mychal gave Klay an advance on his weekly allowance to treat the Chapmans to a couple of Gatorades after the game.

 

Tim/Tim Jr. Hardaway (4-seed) vs. Gerald/Gerald Jr. Henderson (5-seed):

His anti-gay comments aside, Tim Hardaway was one of the best PGs in the NBA during the 90s. The fact that the Hardaways still got a 4-seed despite the fact Tim Jr. hasn’t been drafted yet speaks to the level of his game. Little did the Hardaway’s know, they were in for an all-out war against the fundamentally sound Hendersons.  The Hardaway’s jumped on them early with a barrage of 3s, but Gerald Sr. (a starter on the ‘84 Celtics championship team), and his son would not go down without a fight. They clawed their way back into the game with solid defense, and a slight mismatch in Gerald Jr.’s favor against the leaner Tim Jr.   With the game tied 19-19, Gerald Sr. comes through on the defensive end like he did in the 84 playoffs, strips Tim Sr. on a pull-up attempt, and hits a cutting young Gerald for the 21-19 victory.

Dell/Steph Curry (3-seed) vs. John II/John III Lucas (6-seed):

Insulted by the 3-seed they received, the Currys came out breathing fire to prove a point against their first opponent, the Lucas’. The Currys come equipped with the most lethal outside shooting touch of all the father/son combos, and the smallish (5’11”) Lucas III is just too small to bother either Curry’s stroke. While John Lucas II’s turnaround from drug addict to NBA head coach was a feel-good story in the 90s, there was not a happy ending for the Lucas’ in this one. The Currys put on a fireworks show going 7-10 from deep to roll to a 21-10 victory without attempting a single shot inside the 3-point line. This game was a blowout, but at least we got to check out Dell’s wife, Sonya, on the jumbotron between points.

Currys Produce Magic

Currys Produce Magic

Dolph/Danny Schayes (2-seed) vs. Wes/Wesley Matthews (7-seed):

The Matthews’ come into this matchup with a distinct advantage in the speed and quickness department, while the Schayes’ overwhelming size advantage (6’1”/6’5” vs. 6’7”/6’11”) is their biggest weapon. Dolph is one of the best forwards in NBA history as a 12-time all-star and Hall of Fame inductee, and his son Danny was also 18-year NBA vet who went to battle in the  paint against the likes of Olajuwon, Ewing and David Robinson in his day (although nowhere near their skill level). Despite the Schayes’ enormous size advantage in the paint, Dolph caught the Matthews’ off guard with his outside shooting skills by using his patented 50s-style  two-hand set shot that he releases without lifting his feet off the ground (like some shit straight out of Hoosiers). The only way the Matthews’ have a chance in this one is if they use their perimeter skills and quickness, but the Schayes’ know that Wes Sr. has a sketchy outside jumper (career 23% from 3) and dare him to shoot all game. The plan worked to perfection, and the Schayes’ rolled to an easy 21-9 win.

To be completely honest, I’m surprised with the outcome of some of the matchups. I thought for sure the Vandeweghes would advance and the Paxsons over the Mikans was a stunner, but these are the breaks of the father/son two-on-two tournament. The most intriguing matchup of the second round looks like the patented Curry marksmanship vs. the mismatch of the Schayes’.  Vegas doesn’t have odds yet, but it’ll be fascinating to see if the length and versatility of Dolph and Danny can throw off the momentum of Dell and Steph.

Father Son bracket - round 2

2013 NBA Fathers & Sons Two-on-Two Tournament

As I sit down to write this introduction, I can tell you with the utmost honesty that I never intended to create an imaginary bracket during March Madness. I actually considered pushing this out into the off-season, but some ideas grab hold and refuse to let go and that’s what’s occurred here.

The premise is this: In NBA history, there have been some 50-odd father/son combos including a few dads that spawned more than one NBA-playing son (looking at you Rick Barry and Jim Paxson Sr). I started wondering what would happen if those father/son combos laced up the kicks for a good old fashioned two-on-two tournament. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself when embarking on an endeavor like this, but I decided to keep it simple: 32 teams, single elimination tournament.

The participants: Due to death, mortality and the plain impossibility of a real-life father/son tournament, the whole thing has to be played out in the minds and imaginations of actual, living human beings. I’ve invited a couple long-time friends of mine: Hamilton (@rh_asme) and Bug (@bugfoster515 – he doesn’t really know how to tweet though, so don’t bother following him) and new friend: Jacob Greenberg (@jacobjbg) from www.TheDiss.com.

The approach: We started with a list of 51 NBA fathers and sons plus Tim Hardaway and his son, current Michigan Wolverine, Tim Hardaway Jr. The list also includes Rick/Brent Barry and Rick/Jon Barry, but not Rick/Drew Barry. Likewise, the Paxson family actually has three players and rotates in sons Jim Jr. and John. The task at hand was to whittle this list of 52 down to 32 which was more difficult than one would think. I’ve followed the league since the late 80s and have always been a fan of the history. I consider myself to be relatively well-versed in players who’ve come and gone, but the list of dads led to a lot of basketball-reference and Wikipedia lookups. Hamilton, Bug and I each ranked the top-32 teams. This was a completely subjective process so if you feel that say, Brian Cook and his father Norm should’ve made the top-32 and you think we’re nuts for leaving them out, we acknowledge that you know something about Norm Cook that the stats (27 career games, 2.4 career ppg) didn’t tell us. And this was the case at times (see the David Vaughns). Once ranked, I did a simple aggregate to arrive at a final rank which indicated the overall seeds you’ll see below. For teams that weren’t ranked, I assigned them a completely arbitrary rank of 37 just to balance the overall aggregates. The table below includes all 52 father/son combos, the individual rankings and the final aggregate for each father/son:

Father Pos Son(s) Pos Bug Rank Milton Rank DWN Rank Agg Rank
Joe Bryant F Kobe Bryant SG 2 1 1 1.3
Rick Barry F Brent Barry Gs 3 2 2 2.3
Jimmy Walker G Jalen Rose G/F 6 4 5 5.0
Mychal Thompson F/C Klay Thompson Gs/Fs 1 13 3 5.7
Bill Walton C Luke Walton SF 5 6 6 5.7
Dolph Schayes C Danny Schayes C 4 11 4 6.3
Rick Barry F Jon Barry G 7 3 11 7.0
Patrick Ewing C Patrick Ewing, Jr. SF/PF 9 7 7 7.7
George Mikan C Larry Mikan F 8 9 9 8.7
Dell Curry G/F Stephen Curry G 12 8 8 9.3
Gerald Wilkins (aka Doug E. Fresh) G/F Damien Wilkins G/F 10 14 16 13.3
Doc Rivers PG Austin Rivers SG 11 15 15 13.7
Tim Hardaway PG Tim Hardaway Jr. SG 17 12 14 14.3
Stan Love F Kevin Love F 14 10 19 14.3
Derek Smith G/F Nolan Smith G 13 19 13 15.0
Press Maravich G Pete Maravich G 15 5 27 15.7
Ron Brewer (aka Boot) G Ronnie Brewer G/F 18 18 12 16.0
Gerald Henderson PG Gerald Henderson, Jr. SG 20 22 17 19.7
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. PG Mike Dunleavy, Jr. SF 16 25 22 21.0
Ernie Vandeweghe G/F Kiki Vandeweghe F 29 25 10 21.3
Henry Bibby PG Mike Bibby PG 27 16 21 21.3
John Lucas II PG John Lucas III PG 28 21 18 22.3
Jim Paxson, Sr. F Jim Paxson, John Paxson Gs 22 17 30 23.0
Tito Horford C Al Horford F/C 23 24 24 23.7
Bob Ferry C/F Danny Ferry PF 19 27 26 24.0
Walt Szczerbiak F Wally Szczerbiak SF 30 23 23 25.3
Ed Manning F Danny Manning F 21 31 28 26.7
Wes Matthews G Wesley Matthews SG 24 24 37 28.3
Wayne Chapman G/F Rex Chapman SG 26 30 31 29.0
Walt Piatkowski F Eric Piatkowski SF 25 26 37 29.3
Terry Davis F Ed Davis F 32 28 29 29.7
David Vaughn, Jr. C David Vaughn III F 37 20 32 29.7
Scott May F Sean May PF 37 29 25 30.3
Leroy Ellis C LeRon Ellis C 37 37 20 31.3
Darren Daye G/F Austin Daye F 31 37 37 35.0
Milt Wagner G Dajuan Wagner PG 37 32 37 35.3
Wali Jones G Askia Jones F 37 37 37 37.0
Rod Higgins F/C Cory Higgins G 37 37 37 37.0
Sidney Green PF Taurean Green PG 37 37 37 37.0
George Karl G Coby Karl G/F 37 37 37 37.0
Butch van Breda Kolff G/F Jan van Breda Kolff G/F 37 37 37 37.0
Earle Higgins F Sean Higgins SF 37 37 37 37.0
Al McGuire G/F Allie McGuire G 37 37 37 37.0
Bill Hosket, Sr. C Bill Hosket, Jr. F/C 37 37 37 37.0
Al Salvadori F Kevin Salvadori C 37 37 37 37.0
Jeff Taylor PG Jeffery Taylor SF 37 37 37 37.0
Walker Russell SG Walker Russell, Jr. PG 37 37 37 37.0
Norm Cook F Brian Cook PF 37 37 37 37.0
Rich Dumas G Richard Dumas SF 37 37 37 37.0
Matt Guokas, Sr. F Matt Guokas, Jr. SG 37 37 37 37.0
Leo Rautins F Andy Rautins G 37 37 37 37.0
Tony Price G A. J. Price G 37 37 37 37.0

 

Again, the process of ranking the father/son combos was more challenging than I thought it would be. Along the way, I learned some random information about dads (Nolan Smith’s dad Derek died of a heart attack at the age of 34, Ernie Vandeweghe [father to Kiki] was a pro basketball player, an Air Force pilot and a physician, Gerald Wilkins’s nickname was Doug E. Fresh), but mostly learned that guys like the aforementioned Derek Smith and LeRoy Ellis were strong pros that were either overshadowed by bigger names who came along at the same time or were just forgotten over time.

Jacob’s Rankings: Per my email instructions, Jacob selected 32 teams to be included in the tournament, ambivalent of ranking/seeding. The result was a handful of teams on Jacob’s list that didn’t appear on anyone else’s and thus wouldn’t have impacted the overall seeding at all with the exception of the Mays (Scott and Sean). Depending on how the Mays would’ve been ranked and how Jacob would’ve ranked some of the lower teams (the Piatkowski’s, Davis’s, Vaughn’s or Chapman’s), things may have turned out a bit differently, but for the sake of our exercise, I won’t make any changes here. Just know that The Diss is well-represented and involved.

After all that methodology talk, let’s move onto the brackets and the first round matchups:

Fathers & Sons 2-on-2 tournament - 03-19-13

Stay tuned for a deeper analysis of the first round matchups, recaps, father/son dynamics, teamwork challenges and so much more in the follow-up edition to the NBA Father-Son Two-on-Two Tournament. And if you’re familiar with any of the dads on the list (aside from the obvious Ewings, Waltons, Barrys, etc) and have stories or specific details, let us know.

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